IUCN COMMISSION GROUP

IUCN SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group

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Overview and description

Description:
Poaching is a major threat to elephants in Asia, although reliable estimates of the number of elephants killed and the quantities of ivory and other body parts collected and traded are scarce. The ...

Poaching is a major threat to elephants in Asia, although reliable estimates of the number of elephants killed and the quantities of ivory and other body parts collected and traded are scarce. The Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) is a global network of specialists concerned with the study, monitoring, management, and conservation of Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) in its 13 Range States across Asia. The overall aim of the AsESG is to promote the long - term conservation of Asia's elephants and, where possible, the recovery of their populations to viable levels.

Group leadership

Mr Vivek MENON

Commission Member

Vivek Menon is a leading Indian wildlife conservationist, environmental commentator, author, photographer and policy think tank with a passion for elephants. Founder of five environmental and nature ...

Vivek Menon is a leading Indian wildlife conservationist, environmental commentator, author, photographer and policy think tank with a passion for elephants. Founder of five environmental and nature conservation organisations, Menon spearheads Wildlife Trust of India as its Founder, Executive Director since 1998 building it from a three-member organization to one of India’s best wildlife NGOs. Menon is the current Councillor of the IUCN, Member of the IUCN- Species Survival Commission and Chair of the IUCN Asian Elephant Specialist Group, a Member of the Advisory Board of the IUCN Strategic Initiative on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, a Member of the Species Survival Commission Steering Committee and Member of the Conservation Translocation Specialist Group of IUCN with over 25 years serving on various Specialist Groups on the Asian Rhino, Cat, Threatened Waterfowl and Medicinal Plants. His overt and covert enforcement work to combat illegal wildlife trade has won him the 2019 Clark R Bavin Award. The 2018 Whitley Continuation Award, the 2017 Round Glass Samsara Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2001 Rufford Award for International Conservation for his work to conserve the Asian elephant are some other international recognitions for his conservation action. Menon is the author or editor of ten wildlife books including the bestselling Indian Mammals- A Field Guide, scores of technical reports and more than 250 articles in various scientific and popular publications. Bridging core conservation, policy, business and biodiversity, he serves on a number of governmental and non-governmental Boards and Committees; as an Advisory Council Member of the CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development; member of the Elephant Task Force of the Ministry of Environment and Forests that suggested a complete revamp of India’s elephant conservation strategy; in the past on the Project Elephant Steering Committee, National Wildlife Action Plan Committee, CITES Advisory Committee, Governing Council of the Central Zoo Authority, member of the Ridge Management Board, under Govt. of Delhi, and a member of several State Advisory Boards for Wildlife. An intrepid traveler, Menon has visited over a 100 countries, walking wild lands in over half of these and addressing audiences internationally in over 30 countries, including parliamentarians in UK and Australia.

Dr Christy WILLIAMS

Red List Authority Coordinator
After a Bachelors degree in Physics, I studied seed dispersal by large mammals in a tropical dry forest in Southern India for my M.S. Degree in Ecology and then went on to study elephants and their ...
After a Bachelors degree in Physics, I studied seed dispersal by large mammals in a tropical dry forest in Southern India for my M.S. Degree in Ecology and then went on to study elephants and their interactions with the habitats in Rajaji-Corbett National Parks in North West India for a Ph.D. During this time, my work involved estimating elephant population numbers using a mark-resight methods, studying elephant ranging using telemetry, assessing human-elephant conflict and the interaction between elephants and their food plants. Over the years I have worked species and issues as diverse as saving Olive ridley sea turtles hatchlings to finding a suitable sites for translocation of Asiatic lions and Indian rhinos to create new populations and have lobbied for setting up of new protected areas. I have also helped WWF field staff employ cutting edge technologies to study the impact of the expansion of agricultural commodities (eg. Oil palm, coffee, tea etc.) on elephant and rhino habitats including tracking elephants. In my current position over the last 15 years, I have visited every single Asian elephant and rhino range country and have helped with developing programmes to address some of the challenges these species face in their struggle for survival. I work on illegal wildlife trade in ivory and rhino horn, improving PA management and addressing the impact of developmental infrastructure (eg. Roads, dams, oil drilling etc.) on elephant and rhino conservation through lobbying with investors, transferring best practices in mitigating elephant-human conflict between sites and networking extensively with Government, NGOs and Inter-governmental agencies to present a unified approach on critical conservation issues. In addition, I have been the principal investigator of a project monitoring Elephant Population Parameters in Rajaji-Corbett NP since 1995.

At a glance

Official name:
IUCN SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group
Associated Commissions:
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